One part of assembly is making sure all my circuits are properly shielded and not sending out interfering signals. A decent magnetometer-- a meter to measure magnetic fields-- costs $200-$700 dollars. While at the vitamin shop, I beheld a CellSensor, a device that measures and traces cell phone and power line RF (radio frequency) emission. It has a range of milliWatts (for RF radiation) and milliGauss (for magnetic fields). And it was discounted to $20.
So, for $20, I now have a new addition to my test rig and construction setup! One part of 'do it yourself'-- in any domain-- is reappropriating hardware for your own purposes. One person's fear of cell phones led to me saving several hundred $$ for my lab.
Meanwhile, up in space...
Meanwhile, I'm still my own ionosphere-- well, a magnetic rig simulating the ionosphere's field strength, so I can test my detector choices against it. My current detector measures scales in 10s of Gauss, the ionosphere has a field strength on order of 0.3-0.6 Gauss, with fluctuations of 5% (plus we'll have orbital variations). Since what I am measuring is the fluctuation, not the field strength, this means I need to capture 0.06-0.1 Gauss signals.
However, that's just based on uniform signal... we'll be in a polar orbit, and the field lines dip more there so the magnetic field (and variability) will be higher. Clearly I need to do some orbital simulations. I suspect I will need to either rewire or rework the existing sensors. It's a good thing I have a test rig-- every $10 spent on the ground saves thousands in potential failed mission risks!
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